Old First is one of "Lowes Heroes"

Old First is one of "Lowes Heroes"

Lowes has named Old First this year’s recipient of its “Lowes Heroes” grant award.

Old First has been chosen to be a “Lowes Hero”, based upon the many ways that we work to shelter and feed the homeless and people in need, provide space for AA, and generally contribute to the welfare of the greater community.

This annual award is designed by Lowes to reward organizations that work to make a positive difference in their community. It also is designed to further Lowes commitment to soil and water conservation, among other ecologically sound gardening practices.

The experts from Lowes have enthusiastically embraced the idea of creating a tranquil, soothing, garden setting for both the congregation and neighborhood to enjoy, but particularly to provide a serene and comforting space for the disadvantaged folks who so often sit on the benches in the garden. As passionate gardeners themselves, they firmly believe in the power of gardens to delight and heal in myriad ways, and to this end they are setting about to enrich and complete the front gardens that we have been slowly trying to create and maintain. Without funding and assistance, the creation of front gardens could have dragged on indefinitely; with Lowes generous help, the front will become lovely and easy to maintain within the course of one day!

Lowes will be providing us with over $1200.00 worth of gardening materials, including tools and wheelbarrows, which they will be giving to us to keep. Equally wonderful – and essential! – Lowes will provide the much needed man and woman power to make this project happen, by bringing 12 people, from live plant specialists to eager employees, all of whom have volunteered to spend the day giving back to the community. It is indicative of the enthusiasm and goodwill of everyone involved in the project that more volunteers signed up than could come along!

Lowes is bringing to our garden 60+ bags of planting soil, 60+ bags of top soil, and 60+ bags of mulch; this will be used to tidy and enrich the areas of garden already existent, and to continue the garden on the other side of the gate, so that the effect is continuous and groomed.

Lowes will also be bringing to us pallets of hardy mums, asters, and pansies, so that he garden will immediately look bright and cheerful for fall. They will also be planting numerous spring bulbs so that the Old First garden will effortlessly burst into beautiful color when next spring arrives. Other plants will coming too, including flowering bushes and more of the roses which thrive so wonderfully at Old First.

Lowes will also professionally lay a level path of pea gravel (held in place with borders) so that the soil will stop eroding in front of the benches, and the mulch in the flower beds will stay in place. This will also provide an inviting way to stroll along the gardens, and our guests in the couryard will no longer have their feet sitting in pools of muddy water when they sit on the benches after a rain.

Lowes will also bring a bird bath and bird feeder (with seed) to compliment the flowers that we have chosen to encourage a greater variety of birds to visit the garden. A free-standing water feature will make it possible to hear the soothing sound of bubbling water when desired (returning us to close to the original plan wherein the flowerbed under the sign was a fountain).

Last, but certainly not least in importance, Lowes will be laying soaker hose throughout the entire garden. Watering will now be easy, and water will be greatly conserved by having it slowly drip into the soil. This alone is an incredibly precious gift for our garden, and for the environment as a whole.

This award came to us in early summer in an entirely serendipitous fashion — God meeting our needs and hopes in yet another unanticipated way, I’m sure — but actually implementing this project was unavoidably delayed until now. However, work is scheduled for this coming Monday, when Lowes will show up bright and early with a truck full of blooming plants, and a group of eager volunteers ready to transform the garden into an easy-to-maintain showpiece before the day is out.

But the sweetest thing of all may be the fact that the managers and specialists leading this project feel that this is one of the best projects they have ever done, because of the feelings of admiration and commitment they feel toward Old First, a church they had never even seen and whose programs were completely unknown to them. They have told their volunteers that spending the day working on this gift to Old First will change their lives — just being here and seeing what Old First believes and does for all the disadvantaged people, particularly the homeless, who turn to Old First for shelter and support. To have Lowes gift work in both directions like this is a true wonder and a joy, and a great pleasure to witness.

Lowes will begin work sometime around 8 AM Monday. Old First has received an angel gift in order to be able to provide lunch for the folks from Lowes, but anyone who would like to contribute salads, snacks, cookies, etc. should feel free to do so, as the volunteers from Lowes will be working hard, and many of them will be young and probably hungry.

Also, if you are interested in coming down to see the work in progress, please come anytime, as the project will probably go on for most of the day. While Lowes has planned this project down to the smallest detail, and their workers are organized to make it happen, there’s always something to do out in the garden if you feel the urge to get dirty. But simply coming to watch the transformation should be interesting and fun.

Val Solomon

P.S. … from Janice and Michael for the whole church– a word of thanks as well for Val whose relational abilities, enthusiasm and ability to tell Old First’s story got this ball rolling.